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post #1 of 14 Old 03-03-2012, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Brown algae

I'm beginning to get a lot of brown algae in my tank, especially on the drift wood. There are many hairy little brown algea type plants on the log. Is this normal? This is my first tank with drift wood and live plants that has been established now for about 4 months now. Ammonia and Nitrite are 0ppm, Nitrate is around 5-10ppm. I do 25% water changes per week.



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post #2 of 14 Old 03-04-2012, 12:00 AM
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Brown Algae can be caused by running your lights for too long.

While it doesnt look very good, it WILL clear over time. In the mean time, you can just scrub it off when doing a water change.

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post #3 of 14 Old 03-04-2012, 12:01 AM
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likely black brush algae, I've never had to deal with it, but I believe it is common
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-04-2012, 11:22 AM
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Are you talking about the little furry tufts (which are brush algae) or the reddish-brown on the wood?

The latter I would not worry about. it is not diatoms from what I can see in the photos, so may be due to the wood.

The brush algae is fine on wood, but you don't want it spreading on the plants. Light will control this, not more intense than what is balanced by the nutrients in this system, nor longer duration than balances.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-18-2012, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
The brush algae has spread to some of my plants. The lights are on for 8 hours. Should I reduce it more? I thought 8 hours was the minimum. Should I try to rub the algae off the plants or wood, or would that spread it worse? Are there any animals that will eat this stuff?
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-19-2012, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hywaydave View Post
The brush algae has spread to some of my plants. The lights are on for 8 hours. Should I reduce it more? I thought 8 hours was the minimum. Should I try to rub the algae off the plants or wood, or would that spread it worse? Are there any animals that will eat this stuff?
If we mean the little tufts, that is brush algae. I have it, about the only problem algae I do see. It is caused solely by light being greater (in intensity and/or duration) that the plants can use, meaning the nutrients including CO2 must be sufficient to balance the light for the plants. My solution 3 times was to reduce the light.

If it is too intense, then lowering the light tubes/bulbs will work. If the intensity is now balanced (minimal for the system) then lessening the duration will work. I have even had brush algae increase during the summer when more daylight (stronger and longer) enters the room. You can reduce the tank light down to 6 hours minimum, below that the plants will struggle. If you do the less duration, an hour at first may do the trick.

Now, having said all that...brush algae covers my wood, and I leave it alone. It is only when it gets on plant leaves that I bother, because it can suffocate the leaf and then the plant. However, I often find it only on certain leaves, and without fail they are dying. Whether they begin to die (as older leaves will) and the algae then finds them, or whether the algae causes them to begin dying, I don't know.

As for fish eating this, one or two will, but they carry other problems so they are not usually recommended. This algae will not easily come off plants, usually the leaf is torn trying to remove it, so it is better to remove the leaf (depending upon the extent) and work to re-balance the light. Once things are balanced, what is there will not go away, but not increasing is the goal. This is a very, very common algae.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-18-2012, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
If we mean the little tufts, that is brush algae. I have it, about the only problem algae I do see. It is caused solely by light being greater (in intensity and/or duration) that the plants can use, meaning the nutrients including CO2 must be sufficient to balance the light for the plants. My solution 3 times was to reduce the light.

If it is too intense, then lowering the light tubes/bulbs will work. If the intensity is now balanced (minimal for the system) then lessening the duration will work. I have even had brush algae increase during the summer when more daylight (stronger and longer) enters the room. You can reduce the tank light down to 6 hours minimum, below that the plants will struggle. If you do the less duration, an hour at first may do the trick.

Now, having said all that...brush algae covers my wood, and I leave it alone. It is only when it gets on plant leaves that I bother, because it can suffocate the leaf and then the plant. However, I often find it only on certain leaves, and without fail they are dying. Whether they begin to die (as older leaves will) and the algae then finds them, or whether the algae causes them to begin dying, I don't know.

As for fish eating this, one or two will, but they carry other problems so they are not usually recommended. This algae will not easily come off plants, usually the leaf is torn trying to remove it, so it is better to remove the leaf (depending upon the extent) and work to re-balance the light. Once things are balanced, what is there will not go away, but not increasing is the goal. This is a very, very common algae.

Byron.
Thanks Bryon, I have reduced the lights some. The brush algae has really taken off since this last post but hasn't continued to grow. My other problem is how do I balance the nutrients? The only thing I was doing was using the Excel Flourish tabs and 1 Hagen Co2 ladder. I haven't put tabs in the tank for 2-3 months and I haven't been doing any CO2 either. Any suggestions? I haven't removed any plant leaves with brush algae yet.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-19-2012, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by hywaydave View Post
Thanks Bryon, I have reduced the lights some. The brush algae has really taken off since this last post but hasn't continued to grow. My other problem is how do I balance the nutrients? The only thing I was doing was using the Excel Flourish tabs and 1 Hagen Co2 ladder. I haven't put tabs in the tank for 2-3 months and I haven't been doing any CO2 either. Any suggestions? I haven't removed any plant leaves with brush algae yet.
So what fertilizer exactly is now being added regularly? And are the plants growing OK? And what specifically is the light? Without this data, I can't coment on balance.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-19-2012, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
I haven't been adding any fertilizer lately, I'm afraid that is what may be causing all of the brush algae. It's probably been a few months since I put some flourish tabs in the gravel. I've also stopped the CO2 ladder. For bulbs, I have one 36" T5 HO 6700K and one 36" T5 Colormax light. There isn't any sunlight penetrating the room and the lights are on for 7 hours. Ph is 8 and Nitrates are usually around 20ppm by the time I do my weekly water changes.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-19-2012, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hywaydave View Post
I haven't been adding any fertilizer lately, I'm afraid that is what may be causing all of the brush algae. It's probably been a few months since I put some flourish tabs in the gravel. I've also stopped the CO2 ladder. For bulbs, I have one 36" T5 HO 6700K and one 36" T5 Colormax light. There isn't any sunlight penetrating the room and the lights are on for 7 hours. Ph is 8 and Nitrates are usually around 20ppm by the time I do my weekly water changes.
My tank size is 45 gallons if that helps.
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